Altig Orlovic Agencies with American Income Life

Phil’s Memo 6/18/2012

 To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business and your business in your heart. 

–Thomas Watson, long-time Chairman and CEO of IBM


On vacation this week. Quick comment on that. Since our agents don’t have a “vacation” schedule, how often and much vacation should you take? Here’s how I would answer that. Obviously, work with your manager on all the details. But I kinda like the standard vacation schedule that’s been developed over decades in many major corporations; and it goes something like this: After 6 months, a week. From 12-24 months, two weeks, and two weeks per year from 2 to 5 years. At 5 years, 3 weeks. And so forth. Is that set in stone? NoAre you independent agents? Yes.  But you can use that freedom to do yourself in.

First of all, always take a real vacation every year, after Year 1 on forward. I’ve seen guys actually not take any vacations. That leads to burn out. If you don’t feel you can leave your business, you need to spend a little time doing some leadership development. That’s not running your business well on several counts. You can always use your up-line or work with other MGA or RGA’s in your area to cover. Trade weeks. If there aren’t any tenured managers available in your agency, find another leader and swap vacation times; oversee each other’s groups. A vacation rests your body and clears your mind to come back even stronger…With new energy, new ideas and ready to execute.

The abundance of freedom also can hurt you the other way. I’ve seen guys come in and after two months, they’re taking a week off.  Then a couple more weeks in the fourth month. A couple more in month six. What?!?  And then they wonder why they are not successful.  You don’t develop a rhythm. You couldn’t do that and get away with it anywhere else. Then why would you think you could do it here? Your manager does it? Ya, and they’ve been here 6 or 7 years and have a solid agency built up.  No, anywhere you go, you work and build up front. Put in the time and build it right.

May numbers are in. Let’s start with the individuals this time. Year-to-date personal production; Alan Sedaghat is a man among boys. In the beginning of the year, he said he could write $500,000 in ALP personally in one year. That would be an all-time, all-place, all-world record. Remember, this is Net ALP.  To do that, he has to average $9,616 a week. Net. So $8,000 would be a bad week. That means he’d have to write $12,000 the next week to make up for it.   Through May, Alan has written….(drum roll please)..$217,648. There are 22 weeks through May so he’s averaging $9,893 a week. Net. Unbelievable.   Forget the Olympics, pull up a chair and watch Alan. No. Don’t do that. Set your own goals and aspirations. Be 1/3 as good as Alan is: If your Net-To-Gross is 80%, then you’d have to turn in $4,122 a week. Now that’s more the speed of someone who doesn’t have a giant red “S” on their chest and wear blue tights under their civilian clothes.

Dan Toshner is over $110,000 for the year through June. He’s tracking a little over $265,000. Katie Massert is on pace to be top 5 on stage. She’s at $104,000. Richard Luzaich is #11 in the world. He’s one off of stage. His retention is 90%. Wow. I know he’ll make the push to not miss being on stage by 1.  Sedaghat, Tosher and Massart were #1, #2, and #3 in the world last month. #4? Our own Steve Stensrud. Yes, Altig has the top 4 places in the world last month.

Altig as a whole was 8.5% over last May. Altig-Orlovic-Hay is leading the pack. Up 12.3% for the year. Altig-Orlovic is second, they’re up 9.2% in May, and have been up all year. Altig-Orlovic-Traboulay had an OUTSTANDING May.  21.1% up for the month.

Where do you find an Alan Sedaghat? In your lobby. At your class reunion this summer. Waiting your table tonight. Graduating from college or university this week. If there was a proto-type, a template, I’d give it to you. Even if there was only a tendency, I’d let you in on it. An education level, a personality type, or background. If there was anything I could give you to let you have just a little bit of an advantage of where to look; I would divulge it right now. But I can’t.  There have been professional HR firms that American Income Life has hired to try screen for people that have a greater chance at being successful, but it doesn’t work. We’ve tried them. They said, “Don’t hire this Richard guy; he’s outside the parameters of who we think will be successful in your business.”   Don’t hire Rick Altig? Are you kidding me? And that’s why we’ve thrown away most of the testing services and predicting mechanisms.

Who succeeds in our business? People that have an invisible, immeasurable drive inside of them to do whatever it takes to be successful.  Who are not driven off-course by adversity or discouragement, who hate excuses, who have a realistic enough view of the world to know what life is really like, yet a positive enough disposition to succeed anyway, who have a large, far-reaching vision, but are willing to put both feet on the ground to make that a reality.

Here’s a weird one. People that succeed in our business would probably have some success in most places, but want a place where you self-determine your own destiny, be in charge of yourself, and have no limits how high and how far you can go. They could probably be successful in an academic environment, but don’t like living on $45,000 a year. They might do okay in a retail or management environment, but don’t want to wait 5 or 10 years to get anywhere and make anything. They want challenges, goals, and leadership opportunities. I could go on.


Maybe I’ll reverse the question. Who wouldn’t make it in our industry? People that don’t like to work. People that would be mediocre wherever they went. If I saw a resume of a guy or gal that had spent a considerable amount of time in the workforce but had never really stuck anywhere or accomplished much, I’d be leery. Quick illustration: When I went to college, one of my friends and I were both interested the same girl. We were all friends. Her parents came up for Parent’s Weekend so we both went out to their car. My friend grabbed one suitcase. I grabbed the other. I carried it to her dorm room. My friend tried to get the other suitcase to roll on its wheels. But there was gravel and then the ground was really bumpy. But he kept trying to roll it. He probably put as must energy that night in trying to make the wheels work than I did just picking it up and carrying it. On the night before our wedding, my now father-in-law (a teacher and career counselor) said he told his wife that night, “I hope she picks the guy who picked up and carried the suitcase and dumps the chump who spent all his energy trying to avoid the heavy-lifting of carrying in it.”

And here it is, 23 years later. I still stay in contact with the guy. His financial net worth is 0 and he’s unemployed again. He points out that Walt Disney tried 365 times until Disneyland finally got off the ground and Col. Sanders was 66 by the time he perfected the recipe for Kentucky. He thinks he just needs to hit the right break. The difference between rich people and poor people is usually not one break or even being in a certain place. It is focus, it is thinking right and it is work habits.

This isn’t for wimps. That’s tough to measure in an interview. Now if they’re working hard and are hungry and just need a chance and some direction, the candidate could be okay. Some people are a little quirky and might struggle in a highly structured environment. They are some of our best producers. That’s why we adopt the philosophy of taking on a broader scope of person to see what they are really made of. Enough philosophizing.

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This entry was posted on June 20, 2012 by in Phil Folkertsma.
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